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Bridging the Gap Between Knowing and Doing

Have you ever found that you know what to do but you just don’t do it? It’s a common and frustrating problem, especially when it comes to diet and exercise. We spoke to motivational speaker and wellbeing and performance coach George Anderson to get his top 3 tips for bridging the gap between knowing and doing. 

1) Connect the WHAT to the WHY

Get clear on your motivation for wanting to change. Not just the results you want, but why you want to achieve them.

Every time you carry out the new behaviour (eating a healthy breakfast… going for a lunchtime walk… switching off your phone an hour before bed…), bring to mind your motivating reason for wanting change.

Connecting the WHAT to the WHY adds significance and meaning to a new behaviour, strengthening the new pathways being laid down in your brain and making it more likely it will become automatic.

2) Visualise

You already understand the concept of ‘eating healthy’, and believe in the reasons why you should do more of it. You even know how to do it, with plenty of meal ideas from recipe books or meal plans to follow. But even with the what, the why and the how established, there’s still no guarantee that you’ll take action.

When theory collides with realty you need to consider what it's going to look like in your life.

Visualise yourself doing the new thing, for example drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning, preparing a healthy meal after work, or the kind of snacks you could take with you for the day.

Creating a mental movie of the new behaviour in action gives your brain something definite to aim for, greatly increasing the chance of you getting started.

3) Progress, not perfection

So many of us fall into the all or nothing trap. We try to change everything at once, stick rigidly to a diet plan or go from zero to exercising every day.

Then we get frustrated and overwhelmed and end up right back where we started from. By shifting your attention to the progress that you are making rather than trying to be perfect, you build more confidence and certainty.

Big leaps are the result of many tiny steps taken consistently over time. Focus on the progress that you’re making, and remember that the majority of your results will come from making just a small handful of changes.


George Anderson is a motivational speaker, wellbeing & high performance coach, specialising in workplace wellbeing. Creator of Facebook group On The Wagon, 14 day core training phenomenon 'The Plankathon', the iRunning serious of running programs, online wellbeing membership program boost and author of Amazon best-selling book Beginner's Luck Guide for Non-Runners.